Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The other draping styles

Of the many "many-ies" in India, saree tying is one of them. I know of quite a few in other states like the "Coorgi" style in Karnataka, the Bengali style, the Gujarati style, the Andhra style, the Marathi style, the Orissa style, the Kerala style and the normal style. But in Tamilnadu alone we have the madisaar (Iyer and Iyengar kattu), Kandaagi and the normal one (and a few more like the thodas and other regions).

With the situation today that wearing a saree itself has become a rarity, I wonder what would happen to the other styles. Is it not sad that a whole tradition in saree wearing is slowly fading away?

I have known a couple of maamis in my own street who used to wear the madisaar as a daily norm, whereas the rest confine themselves to madisaar only during sumangali poojais, weddings and such other rituals. In a way I am happy that the tradition is still being carried forward atleast on such occasions.

Women of today lament about not being comfortable in a saree and what if they have to do their regular household tasks in a saree? But imagine a woman in madisaar, who drapes a 9 yard saree (as against a 7 yard normal saree) and do all the household work in it. I bet it would be considered as an almost impossible feat by today's women.

And then the kandaangi selai. I esp like the lovely kosuvam (pleat) which is tucked behind. It gives a nice fancy look - something like a peacock's tuft on its head or a little pony tail. If you notice, both the kandaagi and the madisaar styles have the saree tied a few inches above the feet - which is rather understandable, else it would be tough to manage the saree with a floor kissing length and that too for the kind of work the womenhood are indulged in.

I know it might appear strange for a guy to write about sarees but remember a saree is one of the true reflections of our culture and these styles are specific to our own region. For me, saree means elegance, dignity, richness in simplicity. Ofcourse, more importantly, the dignity lies in the way it is draped as well. Sadly, maybe due to convenience, wearing saree is on the decline these days - even among the rural youth folk. For more on a saree's pride, listen to the Chingunchaan song from the Tamil movie Porkaalam.

I still pass a second look seeing a maami in madisaar or an aachi in kandaangi. Hey, don't get me wrong, its because I wonder if I would be able to see women in such styles again in the future. [For some pictures of differet saree styles in India, click here]

27 comments:

வேதா said...

/Is it not sad that a whole tradition in saree wearing is slowly fading away?/
we cannot say for sure that the tradition is fading away maybe the madisaars are, but we women are still fond of sarees, we look it as a symbol of pride,personality. but as u have pointed out wearing it on a daily basis is inconvenient. but we still maintain it by wearing it during special occassions.

Ravi said...

Veda, nichayam neenga idhukku sandai poduveenga-nu nenachen because I have seen that in one of your picture on your blog you have featured in a saree, so I know you respect the 'saree tradition'. Actually I was referring to the bigger mass, who shy away from sarees. Maybe its for their convenience or whatever, but its sad to see lesser women in sarees these days :-)

வேதா said...

haha sandaiyellaam illa:) actually i don wear sarees regularly to be honest. but i luv sarees, people say women look prettier in sarees, but i think women look more majestic in sarees:)

sthupit girl said...

hey!! The whole saree thing is back. With the polka dots and more.



Yours forever sthupitly.

Ravi said...

Preetika, good to hear that from the "youth".

Balaji S Rajan said...

Ravi,

Nobody will feel sorry to saree. I envy at women folks for the variety of dresses they have to wear. Saree as you have said is a elegant dress and looks nice in whatever form it is worn. Who could forget our women wearing silk sarees on occasions and having Jasmine or Mullai flowers on their head. I also like cotton sarees for those elegant looks. It is an art to maintain cotton sarees by washing and putting starch. I remember my sisters doing it as an art. Talking about sarees reminds me about our laundry man who used to get scoldings from ladies of our house for not taking care of their sarees while ironing and damaging them. I do not think wearing sarees will fade away. Here in London we have huge shops for sarees. On the Diwali day, my daughter's school teachers most of them British were wearing sarees to welcome the parents and children.

Ravi said...

Balaji Sir,
Thats an interesting point about sarees you made that British women wear sarees. I do agree sarees would not go away but the different styles? That is what I doubt.

simplemissie said...

Saree is one thing which I bet all women would love to wear...however saree everyday would be a real inconvenience...I wonder how mamma manages the whole week in a saree.
(I really dont know how to drape myself in a saree and occassionally when I do have to wear I run all the way to the parlour...I wouldnot promise either that I would learn it but letz c...I know "SHAME ON ME")

Ravi said...

See Soumya, you have said it yourself. So you are a living proof for my take on the younger generation ;-) But the previous generations did a whole lot more things than we did with the saree right? For the good or bad, its said to see sarees on the decline esp the various styles. Correct thaane?

simplemissie said...

yup!!it is saad to see saree on a decline...

Anonymous said...

Whatever people say , i feel that wearing a saree adds a certain gracefulness to the woman wearing it!Ravi wanted to ask you this: do you know which movie is that ramarajan's song' sorgamae endrallum' ,for i want to put it up on my blog but have forgotten the movie name & hence cannot find it on raaga!
paati

sthupit girl said...

Youth? Yeaha right.

Unless they call 85 year olds the "youth" these days??


Yours forever sthupitly.

simplemissie said...

Disappeared????
Again??????

Ravi said...

Soumya, not yet. Hope to make a post soon. Thanks for coming by.

Marutham said...

Alo..mic testing...mic testing...Sir get back with new post....
its gonna hit t next year

Ravi said...

Hey Marutham, Thanks for visiting but its been busy days at work but will definitely make a post pretty soon.

Lera said...

Ravi, happy New year to you :)Nice post quite interesting !

simplemissie said...

Happy new year!!

வேதா said...

இனிய புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துக்கள் ரவி:)

sree said...

yaravadhu ponnunga saree kattittu vandha niraiya niraiya compliments kodunga....if nothing else works...this will.Naan en anubavathula kandadhu :)

Ravi said...

Sree,
welcome here! Yes, its good to appreciate good things right? But not women take them in the right spirit. Many take weird inner meanings - adhaan sila samyam "oh, innikku saree-la vandhirukeengalaa? romba nalla irukku" - appadinu kooda solla yosanaiyaa irukku!!!

simplemissie said...

NEW POST PLEASE!!!!!
It's been months and you didnot notice!!!!

Ravi said...

Soumya, yes am stuck again but have been reading other blogs - including your 3 new posts. Haven been able to decide/think what to post on? But will come out with something pretty soon. Maybe my life outside India ;-)

வேதா said...

நான் செளம்யா சொன்னதை வழிமொழிகிறேன், அடுத்த பதிவு எப்ப?:)

Ravi said...

Veda, nalla posts ellaam podureenga... adhukku madhiyila naan oru post potta edu padumaa?? Well jokes apart, I have been enjoying reading others' blogs (unga latest nei vazhiyum sakkarai pongal varai), so am not getting ideas on what to blog upon. Maybe I will blog about my trips here :)

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